publication date: May. 18, 2018

In Brief

Wui-Jin Koh named chief medical officer at NCCN

Wui-Jin Koh was named to the newly created position of senior vice president and chief medical officer of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Koh is a board-certified radiation oncologist, professor, and medical director for radiation oncology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center / Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, an NCCN Member Institution. He specializes in the treatment of gynecologic and gastrointestinal malignancies.

The new CMO role will include overseeing the NCCN Oncology Research Program, which emphasizes collaborative research.

Koh will also help oversee the flagship NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology Guide program. In addition, he will be responsible for medical leadership and oversight for NCCN’s continuing medical education program, and will represent the organization at clinical and scientific meetings.

Koh began contributing his time to NCCN as a founding member of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Uterine/Cervical Cancer in 1997. He was named panel co-chair in 2004.

His work is an integral part of the ongoing creation of the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa. Koh also served as a member of the pancreatic cancer panel for seven years, and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He is also an editorial board member for Cancer, American Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Gynecologic Oncology Research and Practice, and a former member for Gynecologic Oncology.

Outside of NCCN, Koh has held leadership positions with NRG Oncology (formerly Gynecologic Oncology Group), Western Association of Gynecologic Oncologists, International Society of Gynecologic Cancer, the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.

Koh’s official start date will be Oct. 1.


Park named to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center breast cancer leadership post

Ben Ho Park was named co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program, director of Precision Oncology, and associate director for Translational Research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

In his academic role, he will serve as professor of medicine.

Park, who will assume his new VICC post Sept. 1, succeeds Carlos Arteaga, who moved to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as Director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and Associate Dean of Oncology Programs.

Park serves as professor of oncology in the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program, associate director for research training and education and member of the Executive Oversight Committee at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. He also is associate dean for postdoctoral affairs for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Park joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2002. He operates a research laboratory at Johns Hopkins and is an investigator with expertise in molecular targets for cancer, including circulating plasma tumor DNA as biomarkers for detecting residual disease which is known as a ‘liquid biopsy.’

In 2004, he was the first to identify a high frequency of PIK3CA mutations in breast cancer and then discovered their contributions towards oncogenic phenotypes. His work, including the generation of genetically modified cell lines, has been widely cited and requests for his cell lines have led to important discoveries by other investigators. Park has made fundamental contributions to the field of drug resistance, including hormone therapy resistance.

He serves as an associate editor on the Journal of Clinical Investigation and served on the editorial board for the journal Cancer Research, and is associate editor for Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.


Richard Funnell to join WVU Cancer Institute

WVU Medicine announced Richard Funnell will join the WVU Cancer Institute as vice president of cancer services on May 21.

Funnell said his focus will be on changing the way cancer care is delivered by focusing on the patient experience and delivering value by lowering costs and improving access through more efficient operations across the network. He plans to grow the program’s capacity to serve a larger number of patients through fostering relationships across the state.

Funnell comes to WVU Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Penn Medicine, where he served as chief administrative officer of the cancer service line and was responsible for the strategic direction and clinical operations of the Abramson Cancer Center and the Penn Cancer Network.

Prior to Penn Medicine, Funnell served as senior director of business development for oncology at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI, and as senior administrator for medical and pediatric oncology services at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.


ASCO annual meeting merit awards

The Conquer Cancer Merit Awards support oncology trainees who are first authors on abstracts selected for presentation at an ASCO scientific meeting, including the ASCO Annual Meeting and thematic symposia.

Conquer Cancer will recognize 127 recipients with Merit Awards at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting, having already recognized 70 symposia-specific Conquer Cancer Merit Award recipients so far in 2018. These young oncology professionals are recognized for their important research findings in their respective fields within the cancer care continuum.

Five additional recipients will be presented with Special Merit Awards for receiving the highest ranking scores in their respective abstract categories as determined by the ASCO Scientific Program Committee:

  • Andrea Gross, National Institutes of Health

    Receives the Bradley Stuart Beller Endowed Merit Award for the highest ranking abstract overall: SPRINT: Phase II Study of the MEK 1/2 inhibitor selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886) in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 and inoperable plexiform neurofibromas (Abstract 10503).

    Supported by: Friends and Family of Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Beller

  • Alicia Latham Schwark, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

    Receives the Allen S. Lichter, Endowed Merit Award for the second highest ranking abstract: Pan-cancer microsatellite instability to predict for presence of Lynch syndrome (Abstract LBA1509).

  • Anita Peoples, University of Rochester Medical Center

    Receives the Pain and Symptom Management Special Merit Award for the highest ranked abstract in pain management research: Effect of pre-treatment sleep disturbance on radiation therapy-induced pain in 676 women with breast cancer (Abstract 10100).

  • Fiorela Hernandez Tejada, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Receives the Brigid Leventhal Special Merit Award for the top-ranking abstract in pediatric oncology: ROR1-specific CAR for neuroblastoma using sleeping beauty-modified T cells (Abstract 10523).

  • Jack Shern, National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health

    Receives the James B. Nachman Endowed ASCO Junior Faculty Award in Pediatric Oncology for the abstract: Targeted resequencing of pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma: Report from the Children’s Oncology Group, the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, the Institute of Cancer Research UK, and the National Cancer Institute (Abstract 10515).

    Supported by: Friends and Family of Dr. James B. Nachman

MSR, RTA, and LIFe

Conquer Cancer has a vision of “a world free from the fear of cancer,” which requires collaboration across borders and amongst researchers from diverse backgrounds. Conquer Cancer’s MSR, RTA, and LIFe programs work to ensure that everyone, regardless of country of origin or background, has the opportunity to learn from other cancer researchers and make advancements in the field of oncology.

The Medical Student Rotation for Underrepresented Populations provides clinical rotations for U.S. medical students from underrepresented populations in medicine who are interested in a career in oncology, and pairs them with an oncology mentor.

The 2018 MSR recipients are:

  • Mustafa Basree, University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Anita Chanana, Stanford University

  • Kirsten Concha-Moore, University of Arizona

  • Kimberly Loo, Fox Chase Cancer Center

  • Veronica Manzo, Stanford University

  • Sylvestor Moses, PhD, University of Arizona

  • Kekoa Taparra, Mayo Clinic

The Resident Travel Award for Underrepresented Populations provides funding for residents from underrepresented populations to attend the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting, where recipients will get the chance to network with oncologists, attend educational sessions, and develop a deeper understanding of the oncology field.

The 2018 RTA recipients are:

  • Maria Garcia-Jimenez, New York University

  • Joannie Ivory, Saint Louis University

  • Carla Justiniano, University of Rochester Medical Center

  • Patrick Moore, East Carolina University

  • Jenny Ruiz, Columbia University Medical Center

  • Cristian Serna-Tamayo, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Established in 2010, the Long-term International Fellowship enriches the education and training of young oncologists in low- and middle-income countries by providing a one-year fellowship with an ASCO mentor in the United States, Canada, or the European Union. The fellowship helps to foster international communication and educational support and emphasizes the importance of mentoring in the oncology field.

The 2018 LIFe recipient is:

  • Dorothy Lombe
    “Utilisation of Interstitial brachytherapy for target dose optimisation in the treatment of locally advanced cervical cancer”
    Home Institution: Cancer Diseases Hospital, Zambia
    Sponsoring Institution: BC Cancer Agency, Canada
    Mentor: Juanita Crook, MD, FRCPC


NCCN begins work on guidelines to improve cancer care in the Caribbean

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Caribbean Association for Oncology & Hematology are collaborating to develop a library of NCCN Harmonized Guidelines for the Caribbean during the CAOH Conference—Oncology.

Robert Carlson, chief executive officer of NCCN was joined at the CAOH conference by Joan McClure, senior vice president, clinical information and publications, NCCN; Ben Anderson, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; Al Benson, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University; Natalie Callander, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center; Wui-Jin Koh, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; James Mohler, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Douglas Wood, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

They participated in a working session with local oncologists to adapt existing NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology and NCCN Framework for Resource Stratification of NCCN Guidelines in order to better reflect the diverse needs and resources throughout the Caribbean.

The Clinical Team was led by Kavi Capildeo, Trinidad and Tobago; Sophia Edwards-Bennett, Jamaica; Owen Gabriel, St. Lucia; Theresa Laurent, Oncology/Haematology, Barbados; Dylan Narinesingh; and Gilian Wharfe, The University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

The NCCN Harmonized Guidelines for the Caribbean will initially cover the following cancer types:

  • Breast Cancer

  • Cervical Cancer

  • Colon Cancer & Colon Cancer Screening

  • Multiple Myeloma

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

  • Prostate Cancer

  • Rectal Cancer

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